PM lockdown party revelation fuels anger in UK

Reports of May 2020 party when country was in lockdown add to pressure on beleaguered Boris Johnson.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s live blog on the coronavirus outbreak. I’m Ted Regencia in the Philippines.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure after an email was leaked inviting about 100 staff to bring drinks to a party during the country’s first lockdown.

The email was sent in May 2020, when UK residents were told they could only meet one other person from outside their household, outside, and at a two-metre distance.

Revelations about previous gatherings by government officials in contravention of their own rules have sparked widespread public anger. Johnson’s government has denied breaking COVID-19 protocols.

A summary of other developments:

Here are the latest updates on Tuesday:

52 mins ago (02:05 GMT)

Mexican president says he has COVID for second time

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced that he has contracted COVID-19 for a second time.

“I inform you that I am infected with COVID-19 and although the symptoms are mild, I will remain in isolation and will only do office work and communicate virtually until I get through it,” he posted on Twitter.

Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez will replace Lopez Obrador at his usual morning press conference and other public events while he recovers.

1 hour ago (01:41 GMT)

‘Bring your own booze!’: More party revelations hit Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure following revelations of a Downing Street party during the United Kingdom’s first lockdown in May 2020.

In an email leaked to ITV News, an aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson invited just more than 100 people working in 10 Downing Street to “socially distanced drinks” in the garden.

“Please join us at 6pm and bring our own booze!” it concluded.

About 30 to 40 people accepted the invitation.

At the time, people in the UK were allowed to meet only one person from outside their household in an outdoor public space provided they remained two metres apart.

2 hours ago (00:36 GMT)

Merck: Molnupiravir should be effective against Omicron

Merck’s COVID-19 oral pill molnupiravir can work against Omicron and any other variant, the company says.

“We’re very confident that it will affect Omicron … This mechanism in molecule (will) work for Omicron, and I would imagine against any variant that comes up,” Dean Li, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said at JP Morgan’s annual healthcare conference.

Data on molnupiravir’s effect against Omicron is not yet available, but the pill was shown to be 30 percent effective at reducing hospital admissions and deaths, based on data from 1,433 patients, in data released in November.

The pill has secured regulatory authorisation from the US, UK, Japan and India.

Read all the updates from Monday here.

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